Tuesday, January 19, 2010

HEALTH HAZARD around every corner

HEALTH HAZARD around every corner
This zone has three problems: 1. Lack of drinking water 2. Filth all around 3. No hospitals

Bangalore: One place where there is maximum exploitation of groundwater is Byatarayanapura. The reasons are not too far to seek: borewell water is the only source of drinking water here.
In some areas of the zone, water is salty and not fit for drinking. People in wards like Hudi have to cross a railway line and walk for almost a kilometre to get drinking water.
Often, as borewell motors are under repair, people are forced to wait for almost a month. “Apart from the motor problem, BBMP contractors who operate the machine have to be bribed by residents for regular supply of water. Those who oppose them go without water for days. Another problem is we get water very early in the morning or late at night,” a resident of Jakkur said.
In Kodigehalli, water pipes are laid in drains and the area gets flooded when it rains. On such days, pipes are damaged and clean water gets mixed with dirty water. This results in regular outbreaks of gastroenteritis and other water-borne diseases.
Rejuvenation of lakes in the area seems to be a solution to the water crisis here. Earlier, most of the zone’s water needs were met through natural reservoirs. Rejuvenating these water bodies is a solution, as most of the existing borewells are on the verge of drying up. Access to Cauvery water is unlikely in the near future. Due to lack of maintenance, some lakes are also on the verge of extinction, making way for new layouts.
There is absolutely no sanitation facility in most parts of the zone. Public toilets are a rare sight; almost all footpaths are littered. In fact, even schools and hospitals don’t have proper sanitation facilities.
“Most houses here were built by our forefathers and there is no place to construct toilets. We have grown-up girls at home. It is not safe to send them out. A public toilet will help,” said Manjula R, a resident of Hudi. Many wards don’t have sanitary connection or even sewage drains.
With so much filth around, people falling sick is quite common. Women, without proper access to toilets, drink less water to avoid frequent urination. As open defecation is also prevalent, rainwater is contaminated. Walking barefoot has increased the incidence of tapeworm infection among children.
Adding to the misery is absence of healthcare centres. In some areas like Byatarayanapura, there are no government health centres and people have to travel to Amruthahalli, 4 km away, for treatment. “Funds were sanctioned for setting up a health centre. But, due to non-availability of space, it was set up elsewhere,” B V Subbanna, a resident of Byatarayanapura, said.
Also, the mushrooming of apartments has forced many residents to part with their land at throwaway prices. With loss of property, no secure job alternatives and growing food prices, many of them do menial jobs including working as domestic help in apartments.
With most of the government schools here having facility only till primary education, students have to travel almost 5-6 km to attend high school. However, private schools are being set up.
WE WANT... Safe drinking water Rejuvenation of lakes Public toilets Planned sanitary connection Free-flowing storm water drain Better infrastructure at health centres


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